Home>Articles>San Francisco School Board Members Facing Recall Election Make Last Ditch Effort To Stop Voters Signing the Petition

SFUSD Galileo Academy of Science & Technology. (Photo: SFUSD.edu)

San Francisco School Board Members Facing Recall Election Make Last Ditch Effort To Stop Voters Signing the Petition

Political experts noted that the recall effort ‘has a genuine chance of succeeding’

By Evan Symon, August 23, 2021 3:40 pm

The effort to recall San Francisco School Board President Gabriela Lopez, and members Alison Collins and Faauuga Moliga, has grown in the last few weeks as the number of voters in favor of their recall continues to reach unprecedented levels – this despite the board members’ efforts to stop voters from signing the recall petition.

A growing number of San Francisco Unified School District parents are upset with the school board since the lockdown was in place. The SFUSD refusing to reopen elementary schools and high schools despite other districts, such as Los Angeles, doing so when the pandemic waned, was cited as a major reason. The resulting rise of mental health issues among students, as well as learning loss, and monetary loss was impetus for parents to start the petition.

SF Board of Education President Gabriela López. (Photo: sfusd.edu)

Follow-up incidents, such as a massive failed citywide school renaming program and the demotion of Collins following the reveal of past racist tweets, including a subsequent multi-million dollar lawsuit against the board, only drew more attention, as well as national and international attention, against them.

While Faauuga has actively defended himself, Lopez and Collins tried to not get involved, as staying silent was largely seen as their best option. But all that changed. In the past few weeks, a growing number of people have been signing the recall petition.

In San Francisco, 51,325 signatures are needed to set up a recall election for each candidate. As of last week, 58,000 signatures to recall were collected for Lopez and Collins each, while Moliga only has 55,000 signatures for his recall.

Recall organizers say that they’ll need about 70,000 signatures in total as a buffer against invalid ballots , meaning that Lopez and Collins ignoring the recall any longer may ultimately cause them to face a recall election.

At a serious risk of being recalled, both Collins and Lopez began to strike back recently, equating themselves with SF District Attorney Chesa Boudin, who is currently also facing a large recall effort. They each have said that all three are reactionary to outside events and don’t focus on the social change issues.

Lopez, Collins try to fight back late in the signature gathering process

SF School Board Vice President Alison Collins (Photo: SFUSD website)

“All of these recalls represent people who are coming in and they are changing things,” said Collins in a speech to the Harvey Milk LGBTQ Democratic Club last week. “They are sharing power in different ways. Even though we all are in different roles, what’s the same is that we are actually trying to share power with communities that are traditionally marginalized. We can’t let people scare us. When I see certain people getting upset, I know I’m doing the right thing. If it’s people that have power and don’t want to share it, there’s people who want to make decisions without being inclusive, of course they are going to get upset.”

Lopez went several steps further, charging that those in support of the recall against her were doing it for racial, age, and gender-related reasons, as well as for generally not being informed.

“The people who are behind this don’t know us, they don’t know our work, they don’t know what we’ve been doing, they don’t know what we are dedicated to,” noted Lopez last week. “They hear what’s out there and they recognize this is an opportunity to bring down someone who is me.”

Despite the increased pushback by the candidates, support for their recall continues to grow. Larger donations for the recall have been coming in from from tech leaders and investors, including some donations as high as $50,000. Recall proponents have also fought back noting that the recall has been focused around helping children and the city, while the board members are making the petition-signing political.

“From day one, the campaign was a campaign to get politics out of education,” said recall organizers Autumn Looijen and Siva Raj during the weekend. “What we saw consistently was a pattern where the school board leadership focused on a lot of political stunts and symbolic gestures like trying to rename schools, and doing that ultimately badly.”

“In our campaign, if we saw anyone doing anything [racist or sexist] in our Facebook group we would delete it immediately and kick people out.”

Political experts also noted that the recall effort has a genuine chance of succeeding, which would likely end the political careers of the board members facing recall.

SF School Board VP Faauuga Moliga (Photo: San Francisco Government TV Youtube screenshot)

“Both Lopez and Collins have looked at higher office before or have been rumored to be seeking higher office,” San Francisco-based policy advisor Sharon Burke told the Globe Monday. “Plus they really feel like they’ve been inline to what the residents want or need. But it’s becoming more obvious that they aren’t and voters just don’t trust them any more. Is it reactionary? Maybe a little, but all these issues can be backed up for months or even years. And focus on school renamings at a time when they refused to reopen [schools] was seen as a very poor choice. They may continue to fight hard now, but the way the signatures have been coming in, it’s looking more like a special election here.”

The ballot signature deadline is on September 7th. Results will be known sometime this fall.

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3 thoughts on “San Francisco School Board Members Facing Recall Election Make Last Ditch Effort To Stop Voters Signing the Petition

  1. “Turn ouuuut the liiiiights, the party’ssss overrrrr, they say that all good things must end.” Sure do miss the old Monday Night Football with Dandy Don, Howie and Frank (https://youtu.be/CtGxusvUT3k). A lot less enjoyable these days with all the political stuff…..Uhhh, what was that about the SFUSD board? {yawn}…Never mind…{yawn}

  2. It all starts with K-12. The hands that now rock the cradles, go on to rule the world.
    K-12 Report card: F

    Taking back K-12 school boards means taking on the teachers unions, head on. Never give up.

  3. I don’t know your work? You ended Lowell’s meritocracy. You discourage black and Latino students from studying the average hours Asian Americans do (13 vs. the current 3 and 4 and 6 for white kids). You call them names for trying to rise up by hard work. You insult America by renaming 44 schools, even though nonwhite immigrants from over 70 nations out-earn whites within a generation, all of whom coincidentally have more content-of-character than whites on average by any measure (hours studied per week, savings rates, drug rates, marriage rates, work hours, focus on education). There is no majority black or Latino country where it’s better to be black or Latino, as proven by immigration patterns. Instead of putting half of the teacher raises instead into tutoring Latino and black kids to close the achievement gap and publicly calling on them to study more hours, and having parent education and motivational seminars, you destroy Lowell and eliminate 8th grade algebra. Your work is you don’t believe if black and Latino kids studied harder they’d have higher income, lower prison and poverty rates, etc. as proven by Cubans, Nigerians, and some of the charter schools started by L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. You believe in destroying one of the greatest nations in history that takes half the world’s immigrants and provides a route from poverty to prosperity for many nonwhite people. You also didn’t open the schools, which hurt kids. You never made a speech calling on kids to study more. You never took money out of raises to put it into tutoring. Black and Latino test scores are not rising. You are bad at your job. I know you very well. And when people challenge you, instead of listening respectfully and honestly trying to think about what is in their heart, you call them racist. You never called for the arrest of those who destroyed statues, damaged cars, looted Union Square. You are not good people and Martin Luther King would be ashamed of all 3 of you. You don’t help black, Latino or Pacific Islander children. You hurt them by telling them they don’t have to study long hours and stay married and save to prosper but can instead blame society. You cause them harm.

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